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Experiment – 4

Residence Time in Continuous Stirred Tank Reactor
AIM:
To study the residence time distribution in a CSTR and further to compare the results obtained with the expected
theoretical results.

APPARATUS:

An overhead tank in order to maintain constant flow rate

Continuous Stirred Flow Reactor to analyze

Tracer (NaOH)

Stop Watch

Conductivity measuring instrument.

Injection to inject tracer

A beaker to collect effluent

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE:
1. Fill the overhead tank with water and adjust the input and output flow rate in the tank so that its level remains
constant.
2. From the overhead tank start the supply of water into the CSTR.
3. Adjust the flow rate of water into the CSTR until it comes equal to 1mL/sec.
4. Now inject the tracer (NaOH) into the reactor and as soon as the tracer is injected start the stop watch.
5. Now keep on measuring the conductivity of the solution present in CSTR.
6. Stop your readings when the effluent streams contain negligible amount of the tracer.

THEORY:
Residence Time is the time spent by an atom in a reactor. In an ideal CSTR the concentration of any substance in the
effluent stream is identical to the concentration throughout the reactor. Consequently, it is possible to obtain the
RTD from conceptual considerations in a fairly straight forward manner. But as we know that no reactor in the
world is ideal and hence all the atoms/molecules entering the reactor don’t spend the same amount of time. To
measure the non-ideality in a reactor we plot a residence time distribution of atoms in the reactor.
To define it, Residence Time Distribution (RTD) of a reactor is a characteristic of the mixing that occurs in the
chemical reactor. Non ideality comes into the picture and due to some disturbances in mixing the concentration of the
exit effluents is not the same as that is there in the reactor.
Experimentally, RTD is determined by injecting a tracer (which is normally an inert substance) in the reactor at some
time t = 0 and then by measuring the tracer concentration in the effluent stream as a function of time.
Some typical characteristics of a tracer are:




The tracer used should be a nonreactive species that is easily detachable.
Should have similar physical properties to those of the reacting mixture and be completely soluble in the
mixture. This is required so that the tracer’s behavior will honestly reflect that of the material flowing
It should not adsorb on the walls or other surfaces in the reactor.
Colored and radioactive materials along with inert gases are the most common types of tracers.

Here in this experiment we would use a pulse input of the tracer where an amount of tracer is suddenly injected in
one shoot into the feed stream entering the reactor in as short a time as possible. The outlet concentration is then
measured as a function of time.
A material balance on an inert tracer that has been injected as a pulse at time t = 0 into a CSTR for t > 0

Integrating the above the above equation with C = Co at t = 0, we get

We would further take C (t) as the measure of concentration of tracer as a function of time. Moving on we define a
quantity E (t) as the residence-time distribution function. It is the function that describes in a quantitative manner how
much time different fluid elements have spent in the reactor. The quantity E(t)dt is the fraction of fluid exiting the
reactor that has spent between time t and t + dt inside the reactor.
Mathematically it can be defined as:

An alternative way of defining the residence time distribution function can be:

As we know that the fraction of all the material that has resided for a time t in the reactor between t = 0 and t = ∞ is
1 therefore,

Coming to the concept of space time or mean residence time (τ), we know τ = V/vo. Now no matter what RTD exists
for a particular reactor, ideal or non-ideal, the nominal space time τ, is equal to the mean residence time tm. As is the
case with other variables described by distribution functions, the mean value of the variable is equal to the first
moment of the RTD function, E (t). Thus the mean residence time is

OBSERVATIONS:
Flow Rate (Q)

= 1 mL/s

Volume of Reactor (V)

= 870 mL

Time Constant (τ)

= V/ Q

= 870/1

= 870 sec

Observation Tablet
0
20
24
32.6
43.7
55.1
66.8
77.2
89.6
101.8
114.7
125.8
137.6
149.1
163.5
178
188.8
201.5
216.1
229.1
244
257.2
273.5
287.2
300.7
314.2
330.12
346.8
361
376
393.5
409.8
427.6
442.6
458
478.2
493.17
513.6
532.7
552
569.6
588.3
606.7
629.2

C(Observed) C(Theoretical) C(t)dt
E(t)
E(t)dt
tE(t)dt
Experimental Experimental Experimental Experimental
45.58
45.58
45 44.58413427
900
0.00096749 0.019349891
0.386998
44.5 44.38769363
178
0.00095674 0.003826979
0.091847
44 43.96839225
378.4
0.00094599 0.008135554
0.265219
43.54 43.43329221
483.294
0.0009361 0.010390763
0.454076
43 42.89079047
490.2
0.00092449 0.010539241
0.580712
42.5 42.34135501
497.25
0.00091374 0.010690815
0.714146
42 41.85913255
436.8
0.00090299 0.009391147
0.724997
41.5 41.29165836
514.6
0.00089224 0.011063838
0.99132
41
40.7411751
500.2
0.0008815
0.01075424
1.094782
40.5 40.16744242
522.45
0.00087075 0.011232612
1.288381
40
39.6805292
444
0.00086 0.009545946
1.20088
39.5 39.16967701
466.1
0.00084925 0.010021094
1.378902
39 38.67843515
448.5
0.0008385 0.009642696
1.437726
38.5 38.07240069
554.4
0.00082775 0.011919533
1.948844
38
37.4722095
551
0.000817 0.011846434
2.108665
37.5 37.03162583
405
0.00080625 0.008707451
1.643967
37 36.52048102
469.9
0.0007955 0.010102793
2.035713
36.5 35.94201162
532.9
0.00078475 0.011457286
2.475919
36 35.43504305
468
0.000774 0.010061944
2.305191
35.5 34.86322018
528.95
0.00076325 0.011372361
2.774856
35 34.36475544
462
0.0007525 0.009932944
2.554753
34.5 33.75957169
562.35
0.00074175 0.012090457
3.30674
34 33.25961715
465.8
0.000731 0.010014644
2.876206
33.5 32.77460276
452.25
0.00072025
0.00972332
2.923802
33 32.29705636
445.5
0.0007095 0.009578196
3.009469
32.5 31.74334492
517.4
0.00069875 0.011124038
3.672267
32 31.17396744
533.76
0.000688 0.011475776
3.979799
31.5 30.69777414
447.3
0.00067725 0.009616896
3.471699
31 30.20312349
465
0.0006665 0.009997444
3.759039
30.5
29.6367075
533.75
0.00065575 0.011475561
4.515633
30 29.11928205
489
0.000645 0.010513441
4.308408
29.5
28.5652049
525.1
0.00063425 0.011289587
4.827427
29 28.10700752
435
0.0006235 0.009352448
4.139393
28.5 27.64473862
438.9
0.00061275 0.009436297
4.321824
28
27.0506601
565.6
0.000602 0.012160332
5.815071
27.5 26.61920895
411.675
0.00059125 0.008850963
4.365029
27 26.04224698
551.61
0.0005805 0.011859548
6.091064
26.5 25.51496315
506.15
0.00056975 0.010882164
5.796929
26 24.99378747
501.8
0.000559 0.010788639
5.955329
25.5 24.52849291
448.8
0.00054825 0.009649146
5.496153
25 24.04432324
467.5
0.0005375 0.010051194
5.913117
24.5 23.57797153
450.8
0.00052675 0.009692146
5.880225
24 23.02094759
540
0.000516 0.011609935
7.304971

650.3
671.7
693.4
713.7
740.5
760.6
786.3
809.4
834.5
862.3
887.4
915.3
942.4
972.4
1001.1
1031.6
1064.6
1096.1
1129.9
1164.2
1200.7
1238.4
1278.2
1318.6
1361
1403
1452.8
1501.9
1553.1
1606.5
1664.1
1772.8
1784.2
1849
1921
2070
2170
2273
2391
2531
2704
2984
3763
5400

23.5
23
22.5
22
21.5
21
20.5
20
19.5
19
18.5
18
17.5
17
16.5
16
15.5
15
14.5
14
13.5
13
12.5
12
11.5
11
10.5
10
9.5
9
8.5
8
7.5
7
6.5
5.5
5
4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.8

22.51151113
22.00729833
21.50852569
21.05306117
20.46780673
20.04054648
19.50843301
19.04338277
18.55187153
18.02378585
17.56127028
17.06257888
16.5932598
16.09048641
15.62545755
15.14779148
14.649489
14.19114823
13.71745223
13.25519836
12.78290512
12.3154473
11.84344461
11.38590739
10.92803079
10.49594965
10.00993463
9.557229631
9.111599587
8.673932717
8.231006842
7.470971702
7.396626434
6.992048991
6.576484751
5.818364213
5.377696367
4.973776277
4.566152904
4.149047932
3.718236566
3.17935888
2.339727553
1.848318453

495.85
492.2
488.25
446.6
576.2
422.1
526.85
462
489.45
528.2
464.35
502.2
474.25
510
473.55
488
511.5
472.5
490.1
480.2
492.75
490.1
497.5
484.8
487.6
462
522.9
491
486.4
480.6
489.6
869.6
85.5
453.6
468
819.5
500
463.5
472
490
519
700
1558
2946.6

0.00050525
0.0004945
0.00048375
0.000473
0.00046225
0.0004515
0.00044075
0.00043
0.00041925
0.0004085
0.00039775
0.000387
0.00037625
0.0003655
0.00035475
0.000344
0.00033325
0.0003225
0.00031175
0.000301
0.00029025
0.0002795
0.00026875
0.000258
0.00024725
0.0002365
0.00022575
0.000215
0.00020425
0.0001935
0.00018275
0.000172
0.00016125
0.0001505
0.00013975
0.00011825
0.0001075
9.6749E-05
8.6E-05
7.525E-05
6.45E-05
5.375E-05
4.3E-05
3.87E-05

0.010660715
0.010582241
0.010497316
0.009601846
0.01238823
0.009075099
0.011327211
0.009932944
0.010523116
0.011356236
0.009983469
0.010797239
0.010196318
0.010964938
0.010181268
0.010491941
0.010997188
0.010158693
0.010537091
0.010324242
0.010594066
0.010537091
0.01069619
0.010423141
0.010483341
0.009932944
0.011242287
0.010556441
0.010457541
0.010332842
0.010526341
0.018696295
0.00183824
0.009752345
0.010061944
0.017619151
0.01074994
0.009965194
0.010147943
0.010534941
0.011158437
0.015049916
0.033496812
0.063351544

6.932663
7.108091
7.278839
6.852838
9.173485
6.90252
8.906586
8.039725
8.78154
9.792483
8.85933
9.882713
9.60901
10.66231
10.19247
10.82349
11.70761
11.13494
11.90586
12.01948
12.72029
13.04913
13.67187
13.74395
14.26783
13.93592
16.33279
15.85472
16.24161
16.59971
17.51688
33.14479
3.279787
18.03209
19.32899
36.47164
23.32737
22.65089
24.26373
26.66394
30.17241
44.90895
126.0485
342.0983

Integral[ C(t)dt ]
Integral[ E(t)dt ]
Residence Time

46511.889
1
1231.0796

Graph of C (t) vs time –

50
45
40

Conductivity

35
30
25

Observed
Theoritical

20
15
10
5
0
0

1000

2000

3000
Time

4000

5000

6000

RESULT:
The residence time for the flow reactor is observed to be 1231.08 seconds.

CONCLUSION:
For a CSTR initially the concentration shoots up very fast and reaches a maximum and then starts decaying
exponentially. The reason for the instant shoot up is that both the inlet and outlet pipes are at the same level
and hence some of tracer injected gets immediately removed from the reactor and the rest is caught up in the
mixture and exists slowly. In a CSTR it is very much possible that a volume such as dead volume develops where
some of the material is trapped and is never able to exit from the reactor. This volume might be found at one of
the corners of the reactor.